F1 is currently enjoying a boom in popularity in the US, with three US races announced on the calendar for 2023 as Las Vegas joins Austin and Miami.
But it’s been more than 15 years since another American raced full-time in Formula 1. Red Bull’s latest attempt to secure IndyCar driver Colton Herta for next year’s AlphaTauri seat was unwilling to give him an exemption from supremacy.
McLaren Racing chief executive Brown said that while adding an American driver and a US-based team to the grid would be great for F1, he felt they were not essential to the series’ popularity in the US, as evidenced by its current success.
“I think it would be great if they both happen, and it will boost Formula 1 here,” Brawn said at Laguna Seca earlier this month.
“But we don’t have either today, and we look at how popular Formula 1 is now in America.
“So I would like to see it happen, but I don’t think it should happen. Because Formula 1 is hot today without it.”
Fans watching under the cover of Hard Rock Stadium
Photo by: Mark Sutton/Motorsport Pictures
The decision to deny Herta the supremacy despite his track record in IndyCar led to criticism of the FIA system from many US racing circuits.
Alexander Rossi, who made five appearances in Formula One for Manor in 2015, said that “greed” in previous decisions regarding supremacy eligibility had cost Herta his rightful chance to move into F1.
Brown himself has signaled the need for reform, noting that current world champion Max Verstappen and 2007 title winner Kimi Raikkonen would have been denied a Formula 1 graduation by the current system.
Besides Herta trying to make the switch, the IndyCar team, Andretti, has been working to secure a new entry on the F1 grid in the future, only to meet opposition from several existing teams.
McLaren has always been in favor of adding Andretti to the grid, but Brown felt that many other teams were “too short-sighted, thinking about what is in their best interest only in the short term.”
Brown added, “We think a little differently. I think someone like Andretti can help grow the sport. What we might lose in the short term by sharing prize money will come back to us with more TV ratings, more sponsorship outside North America, etc.”
“It’s a bunch of teams trying to protect their income and not seeing the bigger picture.”